12 July 2018

Zimbabwe: Dynamics of Resettlement Areas and Elections

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Some resettlement areas have a homogenic characteristic that poses negative impacts on the rights and freedoms of the people as enshrined in the Constitution of Zimbabwe. Worthy to note as the country heads towards its harmonised elections, is the issue of unopposed candidates.

Three local authority candidates representing Zanu PF in Matobo Wards 22, 23 and 25 were duly nominated without contest in the Nomination Court which sat in Matobo Rural District Council last month. These Wards are predominantly resettlement areas that were created during the fast track land reform programme. In most of these areas, the political environment is reportedly calm and there is limited political activity.

Habakkuk Trust long term observer mission in Matobo Ward 23 reported that Zanu PF party supporters are being transported to other Wards to give political support to the contesting candidates.

In Ward 25, the candidate is reported to be conducting door to door campaigns aimed at drumming support for the Council candidate for the 30 July polls. Mr. Navigator Sibanda a Habakkuk Trust Action Team member in the Ward said even though people were advised to contest under any political party of their choice, no one submitted their papers to the nomination court.

"There is only one Council candidate in this Ward and she has a community meeting on Friday to introduce herself to the whole community," said Sibanda. "There is no opposition party in this Ward because in the previous elections we were told that resettlement areas are all under Zanu PF and no other party was allowed."

Most villagers in these areas were settled by the ruling party during the land invasion and they do not have official lease documents hence they vote for Zanu PF in exchange for security of tenure.

Source: Habakkuk Trust

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